It’s still a common misconception that darker skin tones are not at risk for skin cancer. The Hispanic population is the fastest growing ethnic group in the US. Unfortunately, along with this increase is an increase in the rate of skin cancer among its members. An unwarranted confidence in skin color may contribute to a lack of compliance with sun safety techniques–possibly one reason for the rapid rise in melanoma and other skin cancers.
A study from the Cancer Institute of New Jersey concluded that there is a lack of skin cancer prevention interventions targeting this community. Sunscreen use in the Hispanic population is also low. More than 43% of Hispanics never use sunscreen. While this group does produce extra melanin (which is a natural UV protector), sun safety is still important. Additionally, 89% of Hispanic women have never had a conversation with their doctor about melanoma.
So what can we do to change this? We can educate. Inform everyone that wearing sunscreen daily and sun protective clothing is important for all ethnicities. Year-round sun protection (yes, even in the winter), skin checks and awareness can benefit of all of us.
Be SunAWARE and Be Safe!
Read more on this topic here: Skin Cancer in Skin of Color
Resources: Skin Cancer Foundation & Latin Times